The Trip I Wanted to Take Before I Live. Days 17-18: Arrival at Acadia

4322

At the end of Ocean Path, Blackwoods Campground, Acadia National Park, Maine

The expression “on our bucket list” is not the best way to describe this trip for us. That expression is clever, and mildly humorous (in a dark way), but it links aspiration with expiration. Crossing the country by car was never, for me, a check-box thing to hurry up and do before I kick the bucket. I will simply say that this was something I always wanted to do. It’s on my life list and as such I expect it will add new items to the list.

If you have had something on your life list, something you’ve always wanted to do, then perhaps you can relate to the satisfaction and blessing we enjoy at this.

Always had a love of road trips and maps. Here I share some of that delight with daughter Tessa, circa 1984.

Always had a love of road trips and maps. Here I share some of that delight with daughter Tessa, circa 1984.

On September 18, 2013, a little map-geek 12-year-old boy—still inside this guy of 63 years—finally did what he dreamed of with marker pens on folded-paper highways. Eighteen days earlier we got in our car on the coast of California and drove across a beautiful landscape on a route longer than needed to allow for preferred sights. After 4322 miles, we stepped on the Atlantic coast in Maine. The adventure continues as we find our way home again over the next 31 days.

Some reflections on this will follow after a brief sketch of these past two interesting driving days to get here. Don’t skip this part. It includes a discussion of mermaids.

Vermont

Vermont

Paradox, NY was cold. We ran the heater a lot that morning. Almost completely alone in this campground, we navigated carefully over a pock-marked camp road out to the highway. The world visible through the windshield brightened and warmed. Just a short bridge crossing of Champlain, and Vermont said hello in its slopes and shades of green (hence the state’s name, if you think about it).

And there’s nothing quite like socially-conscious ice cream to sweeten the view.  Ben and Jerry’s is based here in Waterbury, and their factory tour is an awareness-raising experience, complete with 60’s music playing in the gift shop, tie-dye shirts for sale, and enthusiastic tour guides. With every cone of this capitalism-done-leftward product you feel SO good about doing right on this planet, while enlarging the one you carry just above your belt.

The Mulburn Inn, Bethlehem, NH

The Mulburn Inn, Bethlehem, NH

A short hop into also-beautiful New Hampshire and we were very soon in Bethlehem where we found room at the inn. The Mulburn Inn is over 100 years old, one of the classic cottages for vacationers in years past. It has hosted Marilyn Monroe, Cary Grant and Thomas Edison, among others. The place itself, and its owner, our wonderful hostess, gave new meaning to Bed and Breakfast for us, as both those B’s were out-of-sight fantastic at Mulburn.

In the Inn

In the Inn

I can remember only one thing about our breakfast companions the next morning at Mulburn Inn, other than that they were nice folks: They believe in mermaids. At the mention of mermaids-as-reality, all else in the area of my brain for remembering the B&B table conversation from that morning was erased. But I do know now that the TV documentary proved it, and the government has successfully suppressed the truth of it. Oh, and that they are ugly with sunken eyes and their DNA is compromised.

Referring here to mermaids, not the government.

Walking upstairs to get our bags, Nancy and I looked at each other at the first private moment and did that whisper-aghast thing, eyes widened. Mermaids!?

Nancy was pretty excited about it as well.

Nancy was pretty excited about it as well.

The day was warming and glorious, the highways were ours, route 2 in Maine bounded rurally to the east. We zigged along some other roads to cut down to Augusta, had riverside appetizers in Hallowell, and made our way to Blackwoods Campground, Acadia. Our site, A-71, is about a quarter mile walk through the forest to the Atlantic shore. We made it. 4322 miles.

Reflecting on this, the key word is grateful… that we have health and opportunity, the love of God and of each other, an employer who gives a sabbatical benefit (thanks, Intel), and that I enjoy dreaming and somehow finding a way to live out a few of them.

I like that we think deeply about the meaning of things, even the quirky observations in ordinary life, and that it’s such a deep satisfaction to reflect on this by writing. How can I do more of this? … See? I’m already working on my life list.

This trip is on my list—the list of stuff to do before I live more fully than I have before.

A to B: Day 17 (Sep 17), Paradox NY to Bethlehem NH: 173 mi (4074 total route), 15.4 mpg, 9 hrs, stopped Vergennes and Waterbury (Ben & Jerry’s) B to C: Day 18 (Sep 18), Bethlehem NH to Acadia ME: 248 mi (4322 total route), 17.3 mpg, 8 hrs, stopped at Hallowell

A to B: Day 17 (Sep 17), Paradox NY to Bethlehem NH: 173 mi (4074 total route), 15.4 mpg, 9 hrs, stopped Vergennes and Waterbury (Ben & Jerry’s)
B to C: Day 18 (Sep 18), Bethlehem NH to Acadia ME: 248 mi (4322 total route), 17.3 mpg, 8 hrs, stopped at Hallowell

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About Cal Stevens

Learning professional, a training manager, speaker, writer; two careers in helping others succeed. Travel writer for the common road trip.
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5 Responses to The Trip I Wanted to Take Before I Live. Days 17-18: Arrival at Acadia

  1. Thanks Cal for sharing your trip across country. I have thoroughly enjoyed your commentaries and photos. I am looking forward to the excursion back to the west coast. Happy trails.

  2. Carol wheelis says:

    Wow! Congrats on making it to the Atlantic!!! Carol and Ed/Moorpark CA

  3. Tessa says:

    Great post Dad! I love that pic of us! I’m really glad you are living, driving, writing, and experiencing your long-awaited dream.

  4. ellenmpowers says:

    I’m keeping up on each entry very poorly and slowly but needed to pause and comment as I do my catch up reading… How is it you and Nancy look younger as you check off more and more mileage? You never look like you’re tiring of this – instead revitalized! 🙂 WOW! Wishing you much happiness sustained as you keep at this amazing adventure! 🙂 love, el

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